10 tips to ease the transition from student life to the 9–5 world

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Congratulations! All those late nights, study groups, and hours with your nose buried in a book have finally paid off. So, you have a degree/diploma—now what? Making the transition from student life into the working world is an adjustment to be sure. But these 10 tips should help take some of the mystery out of what comes next.

1. Find your own place: It’s time to leave the nest. Settling into your own place is an important step toward the next chapter of life. (And no, mom and dad’s basement doesn’t count.)

2. Start paying off your student loans: Now that school’s over, those student loans will need to be repaid. Start with the minimum payment, and if you’re able, try to pay more every month—the quicker you pay off your loans, the more you’ll save on interest.

3. Find a job: The faster you begin the job hunt after graduation the better. Whether it’s your first job or your tenth, consider how it’s going to help further your future career. It’s time to start thinking about the long haul!

4. Create a budget: Creating a monthly budget will keep you from overspending—just make sure you’re honest with yourself and your income.

5. Keep a healthy credit score: It can be tempting to break out the plastic, but credit card debt is some of the worst kind of debt to be in. Ideally, your credit card balance is paid off in full each month, as interest can add up quickly. If you can’t pay off the balance, plan on making more than your minimum payment. Building and maintaining good credit now will set you up for a bright financial future.

6. Start saving: It may seem odd to consider saving for retirement right after graduation, but the earlier you start, the more you’ll have for the future. Your savings can also be used to afford travel, a vehicle, or planning for a home down the road. Every little bit counts! 

7. Transportation: If you don’t already have some form of transportation, it’s time to start thinking about how you plan on getting to and from your first job. Two feet and a heartbeat will only get you so far!

8. Continue your education: Going back to school may be a great way to further yourself in your field. Whether it’s a master’s degree, an advanced diploma, studying a trade, or even courses offered through your employer, investing in furthering your education is always a good idea.

9. Plan for travel: Maybe you want to see some of the world before you settle into the 9-5 life. If travel is in your sights, make sure you plan your budget accordingly.

10. Establish a 5-10-year plan: It’s important to think about what your short- and long-term goals are in life—both financially and otherwise. Looking to buy your first home? Travel the world? Start a family? It’s time to start planning and thinking about how you can best use your hard-earned money to get where you want to be in the future.